Boston College Wins Third Title in Five Years
Eagles Close Season With 19 Straight Wins
by Mike Machnik/CHN Senior Editor
TAMPA, Fla. Parker Milner made 27 saves and Johnny Gaudreau scored with 3:02 remaining to give Boston College a two-goal lead and send the Eagles on to their fifth NCAA championship, 4-1 over Ferris State.
Milner was named as the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four, allowing just two goals in the entire NCAA tournament.
BC (33-10-1) closed the season with a remarkable 19 straight victories, a school record for consecutive wins in a season.
Gaudreau fought off Ferris State defenseman Brett Wysopal just enough to chop a backhander past Bulldog goaltender Taylor Nelson low stick side. It was Gaudreau's 21st goal of his rookie season.
"I was coming through the middle of the ice on this great breakout pass by Destry Straight," said Gaudreau. "And I was thinking in my head, maybe I should probably get this deep. Four minutes left in the game, and I didn't go with what I was thinking. I just went with it.
"And luckily, it happened to work for me. And I saw the goalie put his shoulder down and try to back end it off the top shelf, so luckily it went in."
It was the fourth title at BC for head coach Jerry York, and his fifth overall, including one with Bowling Green in 1984. BC won for the third time in five years, the first team to do so since Denver more than four decades ago (1958, 1960, 1961). Lake Superior State won three in a seven-year span from 1988-1994.
"I thought our team stayed patient through the first two periods and got an incredible goal from Johnny Gaudreau to break open the game there," said York. "But during the course of the game, Parker Milner once again was extremely strong in the net."
"Going through the third period," said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels, "I looked up, okay, we're under seven minutes. We've got this down to a seven minute hockey game. This is a good spot for us to be in. And I felt as though we were generating some chances and certainly had some opportunities.
"The goal by Gaudreau, certainly a very good individual effort and a wonderful play on his part. [It] was certainly a big-time goal by a big-time player."
The game was a classic goaltenders' duel between Taylor Nelson of Ferris State (33 saves) and Milner. Both were called on early and often to make key saves in a game that was a one goal affair most of the way, setting the stage for the third period in which the Bulldogs could not net the tying goal and BC put the game on ice.
"I can honestly say I can look at each player in that room and know that no one left anything on the table," Nelson said.
BC carried the play early on and scored first, just 3:18 in, when the puck was turned over in the slot by Ferris and came to Barry Almeida, whose shot hit the leg of a defender and came to Steven Whitney at the right of Nelson. Whitney fired the puck into the open net for his 15th goal of the year.
But the goal seemed to energize the Bulldogs, who nearly scored when Jordie Johnston hit the post to Milner's left. Ferris didn't land its first shot on Milner until 5:19, and it led to the Bulldogs tying the game. A backhander by Andy Huff drew Milner out of position, and on the rebound, Garrett Thompson came in to score through the pads and make it 1-1. It was Thompson's 11th of the year.
At 10:33, BC regained the lead on its first power play after a tripping call against Ferris's Brett Wysopal. Pat Mullane got the puck at the right hash and found Brian Dumoulin for a shot from the left point. Dumoulin's wrister was deflected in by Paul Carey to make it 2-1 Eagles — Carey's third goal in two games. The goal stood after a review to determine if Carey had directed the puck in with his stick or his hand. It came just nine seconds before the man advantage expired.
The best chances the rest of the period belonged to Ferris, but the Bulldogs couldn't capitalize on any of them. With 5:22 left, Kyle Bonis' five hole bid on a breakaway was stopped by Milner, Tommy Cross bothering Bonis just enough with his stick to limit his options and force him to go forehand.
Then with just :28.7 left, a turnover by BC in its own zone led to a golden opportunity for Thompson on a rebound with Milner prone on the ice, but Thompson couldn't lift the puck over the Eagle goaltender.
Shots after one were 8-7 BC with each team carrying play for about half the period.
Ferris came out and dominated the first half of the second period after an early chance from point blank range by Straight, stopped by Nelson. The Bulldogs had their first two power plays of the game in the period and generated good chances on the first one in particular, but could not solve Milner. On the second FSU power play, BC had the best opportunity with Whitney feeding Almeida on a shorthanded rush, but Nelson flashed the right pad.
"We definitely didn't take advantage of the power plays," said Ferris forward Jordie Johnston. "In any game, that's going to kill you. And it was at a crucial time in the game, too. Probably would have changed the outcome quite a bit."
"They're so aggressive and they're so quick," said Daniels. "It's kind of a two-fold problem for you. They're able to pressure you. Because of their speed, though, they're able to regroup really quickly. It doesn't give you an awful lot of time to set up.
"The other issue you have with them is on any turnover, they're looking to score a goal. So even though you're on the power play, you've got to have your head up, too, and you're almost back on your heels at times when you're on the power play."
"We had to play our best hockey in the second half of the second and the third, because they did stick around," said Cross. "We wanted to try and keep pushing the pace, and I think we did that in spurts."
Chris Kreider also had two shots from in tight on Nelson with 12:00 left in the second, but the Bulldog netminder turned those away as well.
The period ended scoreless, allowing BC to take a one goal lead into the third.
The Bulldogs tried to net the equalizer in the final period, but the Eagles clamped down and outshot Ferris, 15-6. Milner stood tall, making his best save with 7:07 to play before Gaudreau's insurance goal. A steal by Bonis in the zone led to Chad Billins carrying the puck into the slot and feeding Travis Ouellette for a shot from the bottom of the left circle that Milner turned aside.
Steven Whitney added an empty netter with 1:03 to play for the 4-1 final.
The Eagles outshot Ferris State, 37-27. BC was 1-for-3 on the power play, while Ferris went 0-for-4.
Ferris ended its season 26-12-5, having advanced further than any team in school history.
"There's nothing I'm disappointed in whatsoever," said Daniels. "And I think that's a testament to Boston College and how good they are. But that was as good as we can play. And that's coming from each of the guys that was out there."
"We were able to be on a team that kind of started the ball rolling, I think, for the program, because there's going to be kids that want to come to Ferris now," said Johnston. "And that's something we're really proud of."
"They asked me last night, what was my favorite BC team," York said. "And I said I had to wait because you can't be measured unless you win that last trophy, I think.
"So now with 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012, they've joined that group of teams that I've coached, '84, that are remarkable. And they've earned it and I'm very proud of them."